Bolingbroke, Henry St. John, Viscount (16781751)

Bolingbroke, Henry St. John, Viscount, English statesman, orator, and political writer, born at Battersea; Prime Minister of Queen Anne in the Tory interest, after her dismissal of the Whigs; on the accession of George I. fled to France and joined the Pretender; was impeached and attainted; returned in 1723 to his estates, but denied a seat in the House of Lords, an indignity which he resented by working the overthrow of Walpole; was the friend of Pope and Swift, and the author of “Letters” bearing upon politics and literature. “Bolingbroke,” says Prof. Saintsbury, “is a rhetorician pure and simple, but the subjects of his rhetoric were not the great and perennial subjects, but puny ephemeral forms of them—the partisan and personal politics of his day, the singularly shallow form of infidelity called Deism and the like; and his time deprived him of many, if not most, of the rhetorician's most telling weapons. The 'Letter to Windham,' a sort of apologia, and the 'Ideal of a Patriot King,' exhibit him at his best.” It was he who suggested to Pope his “Essay on Man” (16781751).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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